The basolateral amygdala (BLA) contains discrete neuronal circuits that integrate positive or negative emotional information and drive the appropriate innate and learned behaviors. Whether these circuits consist of genetically-identifiable and anatomically segregated neuron types, is poorly understood. Also, our understanding of the response patterns and behavioral spectra of genetically-identifiable BLA neurons is limited. Here, we classified 11 glutamatergic BLA cell clusters and found that several of them were anatomically segregated in lateral versus basal amygdala, and anterior versus posterior regions of the BLA. Two of these BLA subpopulations innately responded to valence-specific, whereas one responded to mixed – aversive and social – cues. Positive-valence BLA neurons promoted normal feeding, while mixed selectivity neurons promoted fear learning and social interactions. These findings enhance our understanding of cell type diversity and spatial organization of the BLA and the role of distinct BLA populations in representing valence-specific and mixed stimuli.
- Classification of molecularly-defined glutamatergic neuron types in mouse BLA with distinct spatial expression patterns.
- BLALypd1 neurons are positive-valence neurons innately responding to food and promoting normal feeding.
- BLAEtv1 neurons innately represent aversive and social stimuli.
- BLAEtv1 neurons promote fear learning and social interactions.